A nifty little wheeze by BT. The UK's incumbent telco has quietly redefined what constitutes "night time" as far as it's peak rate charging is concerned. The most expensive time to make calls now runs from seven in the morning to seven in the evening rather that the long-standing and traditional six am to six pm that pertained until recently. Martyn Warwick reports.
Basically BT has shifted "night time" by an hour and is wrapping-up the change that, obviously, is designed to make the company more money on call charges, in a silken web of PR spin in which it claims that the alteration is actually a boon and a benefit to subscribers because people are "working longer "and making business calls later - so the evening period for lower rate calls has been changed by 60 minutes. How's that for twisted logic?
The notion of a telephony tariff based on time is pretty outmoded and these days rarely applies to mobile to mobile calls, (that said most mobile tariffs are so fiendishly complex that it really would take a rocket scientist to work out all the possible permutations) however some fixed line operators still use the minute and second as basis for charging - BT among them.
In the brave new world of quadruple and triple play bundles charging for a call by the second is at best old-fashioned and increasingly outmoded but it brings in the money.
If you can charge four times more for a calls made between seven in the morning and seven at night and then at seven oh one drop the rate down to a quarter of what it had been 60 seconds before, someone's going to do it - and BT does.
Other service providers have different tariffs and are not quite so rapacious - so it'll pay consumers to shop around.
And there's also the tricky little matter of contracts. BT subscribers held in the clutches of a minimum 12 or 18 month contact may wish to challenge the unilaterally imposed changes to the terms and conditions agreed at the time the contract was struck.
One of the most pernicious and irritating facts of life for most Brits with a fixed line phone is the antedeluvian requirement that whoever your actual service provider might be, you still have to pay monthly line rental to BT. The telco always claims it makes no money at all on line rentals so one way to get some of your own back might be to grin and bear that charge - on which BT says it makes a loss anyway - but sign-up with another service provider for actual calls.
Just a thought.
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